Skip to main content
Press Release

Pawtucket Man Facing 5-40 Years in Prison for Trafficking Cocaine

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island

PROVIDENCE – A Pawtucket man who sold a kilogram of cocaine while under law enforcement surveillance faces between 5 and 40 years in federal prison, having pleaded guilty today to conspiracy and distributing 500 grams or more of cocaine.

Appearing before U.S. District Court Mary S. McElroy, Modesto Mercado, 37, admitted that on February 12, 2020, he met by Facetime and later in person at a Providence restaurant to arrange with an individual to sell him a kilogram of cocaine for $30,000. During the second meeting, Mercado told the buyer that the price for the kilogram was actually $31,500, with the additional $1,500 going to Mercado and a person assisting him to arrange the purchase. At the second meeting, Mercado told the buyer he could supply as many kilograms of cocaine as the buyer wanted to purchase.

According to information presented to the court, later that evening Mercado met with the buyer and another individual and sold him a kilogram of cocaine. After the buyer claimed he could not pay more than the original agreed upon price of $30,000, Mercado indicated he wanted to remove and keep 150 grams of pure cocaine from the kilogram and replace it with cocaine that had been mixed with cutting agents, keeping the 150 grams for himself.

Appearing today before U.S. District Court Judge Mary S. McElroy, Mercado pleaded guilty to conspiracy with the intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine and distribution of 500 grams or more of cocaine, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus and Homeland Security Investigations Acting Special Agent in Charge William S. Walker.

At sentencing on July 26, 2021, Mercado faces statutory penalties of between five and forty years in federal prison to be followed by between four years and lifetime federal supervised release.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald F. Gendron.

The matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations.



Jim Martin
(401) 709-5357

Updated May 4, 2021

Drug Trafficking
Press Release Number: 21-61